Finding The Right Motherboard
Finding the right motherboard or mainboard for the Ryzen 5 2600 / 2600x Processor can be challenging. We tested and analyzed 6 different motherboards and found the best option. Our performance winner is the ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme TRX40. The best bang for the buck you get if you go with the MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE LGA1151 Motherboard. For more details you can check out our test-results down below.
The Ryzen 5 2600 / 2600x Processor
In each processor generation there is usually a specific model that is particularly attractive in terms of the price-performance ratio. In the case of AMD’s new Ryzen 2000 CPUs, this could be the Ryzen 5 2600 / 2600x.
This is not an overly daring assumption, after all, the predecessor Ryzen 5 1600 has already proven to be extremely popular. According to figures from many online retailers, it even represents AMD’s most successful CPU in a long time. AMD wants to repeat this success with the Ryzen 5 2600 and Ryzen 5 2600x. Just like the Ryzen 5 1600, it offers six cores including virtual core duplication at a relatively low price of under 200$. How it performs against Intel’s similarly expensive Core i5 8400, whether the performance and other aspects, such as energy efficiency, are right, we’ll check with numerous benchmarks.
Ryzen 5 2600 In Detail
The Ryzen 5 2600 is AMD’s most affordable six-core CPU of the new Ryzen 2000 generation. At the time of testing, the price is about 190$, while the predecessor Ryzen 5 1600 costs about 50$ less.
With a BIOS update, the Ryzen 5 2600 can also be run on a mainboard with a 300 chipset (A320, B350, X370). Motherboards with the new X470 chipset or newer generally know how to handle the CPU.
As in the case of the Ryzen 7 2700(X) and the Ryzen 5 2600X, the 12nm “LP” process from Globalfoundries is used as the manufacturing process for the Ryzen 5 2600, which we will discuss in more detail in the test of the Ryzen 7 2700X. The architecture is accordingly “Zen+” instead of “Zen” as before.
Some of the most important improvements include a considerable increase in clock rates, lower buffers for the various caches and a higher maximum RAM clock (2.933 MHz instead of 2.666 MHz). However, as before, higher memory clock rates are also possible via overclocking, from which the Ryzen CPUs benefit comparatively strongly.
The standard clock of Ryzen 5 2600 increases by 200 MHz (3.4 GHz instead of 3.2 GHz) compared to its predecessor Ryzen 5 1600, and the maximum boost clock increases by 300 MHz (3.9 GHz instead of 3.6 GHz). With the very important clock rate under load on all cores, our measurements show a difference of even 350 MHz (3.75 GHz instead of 3.4 GHz).
Since the CPU, like all Ryzen models, has a free multiplier, it can be clocked even higher if desired and with appropriate cooling. The heat dissipation liquid metal is located between the DIE and the heat spreader of the CPU (which also applies to all Ryzen models except the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs).
Technical Specs AMD Ryzen Series
|Ryzen 5 2600||Ryzen 5 1600||Ryzen 5 2600X||Ryzen 5 1600X|
|Cores / Threads||6/12||6/12||6/12||6/12|
|Architecture||Zen+ (12nm)||Zen (14nm)||Zen+ (12nm)||Zen (14nm)|
|Clocking||3,4 GHz||3,2 GHz||3,6 GHz||3,6 GHz|
|max. Clocking||3,9 GHz||3,6 GHz||4,2 GHz||4,0 GHz|
|Memory||DDR4-2933 (Dual-Channel)||DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel)||DDR4-2933 (Dual-Channel)||DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel)|
|L2-Cache per Core||512 KByte||512 KByte||512 KByte||512 KByte|
|L3-Cache||2 x 8,0 MByte||2 x 8,0 MByte||2 x 8,0 MByte||2 x 8,0 MByte|
|TDP||65 Watt||65 Watt||95 Watt||95 Watt|
|Connectors / Heatspreader||Metal (soldered)||Metal (soldered)||Metal (soldered)||Metal (soldered)|
With the decision for a mainboard you also decide on a platform: The built-in socket determines which processors can be built into the PC. Most Mainboards are currently designed for either Intel processors or AMD processors.
The form factor of the socket also limits the usable models (and thus core numbers and technologies). It should be noted, however, that the lifetime of socket form factors has increased significantly in recent years. Intel’s socket 1151, for example, has remained up-to-date for about half a decade.
Furthermore it is useful to keep a list of devices you want to connect to the mainboard. This gives you an overview of which interfaces are needed or how many PCIe-x4 slots are required for expansion cards.
Ranking First: ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme TRX40
For the switch to PCI-Express 4.0 in the HEDT segment, AMD relies on the socket called “sTRX4”, which still has 4,096 pins, but in a modified pinout and is only compatible with the third Ryzen threader generation. Our first tested and compatible motherboard with the matching TRX40 chipset is the extensively equipped ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme as direct successor of the ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha (AMD X399), ASUS’ refresh version of the original ROG Zenith Extreme.
Apart from the Prime TRX40-Pro and the ROG Strix TRX40-E Gaming, the ROG Zenith II Extreme of course offers the most extensive equipment and should also appeal to the Extreme overclocking users. Because with the 16 CPU and a total of four RAM coils, ASUS focuses on a powerful VRM range and has also taken the slow and LN2 mode into account. This also applies, of course, to six voltage measuring points with which important voltage can be determined directly.
With a full 21 USB ports, many USB devices can be connected. Nine of them work with the nimble USB 3.2 Gen2 specification, eight with 5 GBit/s (USB 3.2 Gen1) and three with USB 2.0 data rates. As a bonus, a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 type C connector is also available on the I/O panel, which is powered by ASMedia’s ASM3242 controller and can move data at speeds of up to 20 Gbps. For storage, not only eight SATA 6GBit/s have been provided, but also a total of five M.2 M key interfaces, if the DIMM.2 module is added, whereby the rear M.2 connector is difficult to access in everyday use.
Other highlights include a 10Gbps LAN controller and numerous onboard conveniences, including the 1.77-inch Live Dash OLED display, where debug codes are displayed each time the system boots, replacing the usual debug LED. We have to praise ASUS for the PCH fan. It has now been placed much further down and is also very quiet. Furthermore, the fan can now be controlled manually in the BIOS. Thus, nothing more stands in the way of a semi-passive mode. The two 25 mm fans of the VRM cooler are disturbingly loud above a certain speed. But fortunately they can be controlled and didn’t even start with default BIOS values.
The price for the ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme is currently around 780$ and of course requires a well stocked wallet. And that’s not even the complete system. What the ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme is still missing is Thunderbolt 3.0, but if you need it, you will find some alternative boards. The Zenith II is a great motherboard for the AMD Ryzen 5 2600.
Second Rank: Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula
The mainboards for the third generation of Ryzen processors have many innovations over their predecessors. With the X570 chipset, PCIe 4.0 expansion slots are available for the first time. The supported memory size increases from 64 GB to 128 GB and AMD speaks of possible RAM clock rates of over 5000 MHz. USB 3.2 Gen 2 and 5G LAN are used for the first time for the connections. For wireless transmission the ASUS ROGCrosshair VIII Formula relies on Wi-Fi 6.
An 8-pin and a 4-pin power plug are used to supply the CPU with power. These plugs are covered by a metal jacket to ensure better heat dissipation. For the power supply the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula relies on 16 VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules), 14 of which are responsible for the CPU. In contrast to the competitor products, Asus doesn’t use a Doppler to get from the 7+1 outputs of the IR35201 multi-phase controller to the 16 phases mentioned above. Instead, so-called twin phases are used, which allows the motherboard to react faster to load changes.
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula has four DDR4 RAM DIMMs, which run according to AGESA standard with up to 3200 MHz in dual channel operation. By manual OC or the use of XMP profiles significantly higher clock rates are possible. From a clock rate of 3800 MHz, however, the Infinity fabric switches to a special 2:1 mode, which significantly increases the latency of the RAM. As of today, you get the highest gaming performance at 3733 MHz with timings of CL16-16-16-36-2T. With these settings, the four CORSAIR Dominator Platinum RGB 16 GB memory bars are also expected to operate.
To ensure that not only the power supply, but also the other hardware components are well cooled, the mainboard has extensive connections. These include six connections for PWM or DC fans, one connection for a PWM pump, and one sensor each for water temperature and flow rate. The mainboard’s backplate and the front panel with the heat sinks of the M.2 modules provide for a better heat distribution.
On the right side of the mainboard there are two switches to switch on the PC or reset the mainboard. These functions are especially aimed at overclockers, who build their setup on a benchmark table and not in a case. But also for filling the water circuit the start button can be of advantage. The two buttons can also be assigned other functions in the BIOS. Next to the 24-pin ATX connector there are four status LEDs for the CPU, the GPU, the RAM and the boot process.
Internal connections are 8x SATA 6 GB/s, 1x USB-C 3.1, 4x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0. Externally, there are twelve USB ports: 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 and 7x USB 3.2 Gen2 type-A + 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 type-C. There are three ways to connect to the Internet: Wi-Fi 6, GB-LAN (RJ45) or 5G-LAN (AQC-111C). For 7.1 surround sound, both analog and digital connections are built in.
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula (Wi-Fi) is a well-equipped X570 mainboard, delivers good performance values and has an extensive CPU power supply to offer. However, the board has to perform with a single permanently running chipset fan. If that doesn’t bother you, you can easily reach for the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula (Wi-Fi). The Crosshair VIII Formula is an excellent choice that goes well with the Ryzen 5 2600 or Ryzen 5 2600x.
Ranking Third: MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE
Intel’s Z390 chipset has finally arrived and is supposed to stand up to the Z370 chipset. In comparison to the meanwhile old Z370 model (re-labelled Z270-PCH), it offers six native USB 3.1 Gen2 interfaces and also a WLAN-ac interface. The Z390-PCH thus joins the newer Intel 300 chipset series (the Z370 excluded) and is also manufactured in the finer 14 nm lithography. The series is thus rounded off at the top. In addition, it can be used to overclock the K processors and also the main memory.
With a powerful and efficient VRM section consisting of 18 coils (effective 8+2 configuration), the CPU power supply of the LGA1151v2-K CPU is really scary. MSI has done a very good job in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and low heat generation. This is at least true for the Core i7-8700K with six cores. Two 8-pin EPS12V connectors have been soldered for this, so that no current bottlenecks can occur here.
But the further equipment is also convincing. A maximum of four DDR4 UDIMM memory banks can theoretically accommodate up to 128 GB RAM, if you include Samsung’s 32 GB UDIMMs. MSI releases the slots up to DDR4-4600, whereby the RAM dividers reach up to DDR4-6000. For graphics cards or other expansion cards, there are four mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots including Steel Armor, three of which are available via the processor. MSI has decided not to use a PEX8747 chip. Exactly in the middle of it, PCIe 3.0 x1 is also available once.
A double-edged sword, however, is the storage area. MSI has completely dispensed with additional storage chips, which meant that the many storage connections had to be connected in a shared fashion. In addition to six SATA 6GBit/s and three M.2 (M-Key) ports, there is also a U.2 port on board. However, everything at the same time cannot be used. The three M.2 coolers (M.2 Shield Frozr) are praiseworthy for this, however, with the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike even providing cooling surfaces for the rear side.
The number of USB 3.1 Gen1 ports has been reduced by four compared to the previous mainboard, so there are now six (2x on the I/O panel and 4x via two front headers), but the six native USB 3.1 Gen2 ports of the Z390 chipset have been fully utilized. Four on the I/O panel (3x type-A and 1x type-C) and two front headers (type-C). Two USB 2.0 front headers are then added to the list.
With two Gigabit LAN ports (Killer E2500) and a Killer Wireless AC-1550 module, there was no shortage of networking options. The hardware of the latter is based on Intel’s Wireless-AC 9260 and reaches up to 1.73 GBit/s in WLAN (gross). Bluetooth version 5.0 is also included, and the audio section has been greatly expanded with two Realtek-ALC1220 codecs. One is responsible for the five 3.5 mm jack sockets and for TOSLink, the other for the 6.3 mm jack headphone output, which also has an ESS DAC.
Especially for a flagship mainboard, the energy efficiency of the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike is impressive and represents a significant improvement over the Z370 Godlike Gaming. And of course RGB LED is also an issue. At the height of the I/O panel MSI has succeeded in creating a chic looking RGB mirror optics. With numerous headers, the RGB lighting can also be expanded.
Anyone who is prepared to pay more than 500$ for a mainboard must not only have a big wallet, but also have high demands on the hardware. The “Godlike” lives up to its name and essentially offers every imaginable feature of an enthusiast mainboard. Moreover, it can clearly stand out optically from the competition: Large RGB elements, a virtually complete cover with full metal heat sinks and four reinforced PCIe connectors for graphics cards should please every hardware fan. On the technical side you get the brand new Intel Z390 chipset, which also accommodates the strongest Intel processors of the still young Core i9 series. The “Godlike” is a great fit for the Ryzen 5 2600 and 2600x Processor.
Fourth Rank: Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master
The GIGABYTE X570 AORUS MASTER is in the high-end sector with a price of 385$ and is therefore aimed at enthusiasts. As the product name indicates, the motherboard is equipped with a X570 chipset from AMD. Accordingly, it is an AM4 mainboard. Thus it is the second mainboard with X570 chipset which we have on the test bench. We are very curious to see how it performs in comparison to the previously tested mainboard.
The X570 AORUS MASTER is packaged in a typical GIGABYTE packaging with orange accents. On the packaging we find important features of the motherboard and highlights like the 14 phase power supply that GIGABYTE wants to highlight.In the packaging we find the mainboard and the scope of delivery. Besides the obligatory SATA cables we also find extension cables for RGB LEDs. A manual and numerous stickers are of course also included. For the mounting of M.2 SSDs the necessary screws are also included.
The GIGABYTE X570 AORUS MASTER is currently available from 350$ and is aimed at enthusiasts looking for a suitable platform for their AMD RYZEN processor. Like all X570 mainboards, it offers PCI Express 4.0 on all PCI Express and M.2 slots in combination with a 3rd generation RYZEN processor. GIGABYTE has been very successful in terms of workmanship and looks.
Also the RGB lighting is not too overloaded and is therefore not only aimed at RGB fans. A special feature is of course the use of a real 14-phase power supply. This is very well cooled thanks to cooling fins on the VRM cooler. The three existing M.2 slots on the X570 AORUS MASTER are also well cooled, which can also be supplied with sufficient airflow thanks to the total of seven fan connections.
Two RJ-45 ports and an integrated W-LAN adapter are available for network friends. One of the RJ-45 ports offers 2.5GBit. An active cooler is located on the X570 chipset. This didn’t get over 24 dB(A) in our measurements and the chipset’s temperature was in a green range. However, the chipset cooler is not in such an optimal position, as it can be covered by the graphics card. This is especially true for high-end graphics cards, which like to occupy three slots.
A small drawback of the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS MASTER is the only six SATA ports available. We think that eight is the minimum in the 350-400€ price range. Another disadvantage is that the maximum boost clock of 4.6GHz is not reached with the AMD RYZEN 9 3900X. A clear contra is that there are only four USB 3.2 Gen2 ports. All processors based on Zen2 already offer four USB 3.2 Gen2 ports and the chipset itself offers eight. Therefore, we can’t understand the choice of GIGABYTE here. Furthermore, as with all X570 mainboards, we consider the price to be too high.
We can definitely recommend the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS MASTER, especially as it makes a great fir for the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 and 2600x.
Fifth Rank: MSI MEG X570 ACE
About the Motherboard
Together with the MEG X570 Godlike, the MEG X570 Ace forms MSI’s enthusiastic gaming series for the new Ryzen 3000 processors. And even though the MEG X570 Ace has to subordinate itself to the MEG X570 Godlike, it provides generous equipment. For the CPU power supply alone, MSI has positioned 14 coils accordingly, which work effectively in a 6+2 configuration and have performed well in the overclocking test. But the buyer doesn’t have to do without various onboard comforts either. A power and reset button, the game boost button, the diagnostic LED, four status LEDs and a CMOS clear and USB flash button on the I/O panel are also on board.
Depending on the CPU, the four DDR4 DIMM memory banks can accommodate up to 128 GB of RAM, whereby the ECC mode is not included. Three mechanical PCIe-4.0-x16 and two PCIe-4.0-x1 slots, however, invite system expansion. Three M.2-M key interfaces have been consistently accommodated in the gaps, two of which are connected via the X570 chipset and one via the CPU. MSI also supplies appropriate coolers for this purpose. In addition to the storage connections, however, there are four native SATA 6GBit/s ports.
A total of 17 USB ports are offered, distributed over the CPU and chipset. Depending on the choice of processor, there are either five USB 3.2 Gen2 and six USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Ryzen 3000) or three USB 3.2 Gen2 and eight USB 3.2 Gen1 (Ryzen 2000). In either case, six USB 2.0 ports are added. Just like the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi), the MSI MEG X570 Ace comes with a Gigabit LAN port (Intel I211-AT), a 2.5 GBit/s LAN port (Realtek RTL8125-CG). Alternatively, the wireless connection via Intel’s Wi-Fi 6-AX200 module, which also handles Bluetooth in the 5.0 revision, is an option.
As an eye-catcher, MSI has of course distributed some RGB LEDs on the board, the highlight being the area above the I/O panel. RGB LEDs with a mirror optics were integrated there. From there on, the RGB LED spectacle can also be extended by various headers. We liked the implementation of the three semi-passive modes for the chipset fan, which were stored in the BIOS exactly as they were communicated before. Of course it would have been even better if a passive cooling solution had been used.
In general, the X570 mainboards aren’t exactly cheap, but we don’t feel that the price of 377$ for the MSI MEG X570 Ace is too high. Because for this price the prospective buyers get a top class mainboard, which may also call itself exactly that. And it is compatible with the Ryzen 5 2600 and Ryzen 5 2600x processors.
Sixth Rank: Gigabyte Z390 AORUS ULTRA
About the Mainboard
With the Z390 chipset on the Z390 Aorus Ultra, Intel is replacing the Z370 chipset for its eighth-generation high-end processors. In addition, Z390 mainboards supported Intel’s ninth generation core processors (Coffee Lake-S Refresh). Also included are chip-side WLAN support – although a WiFi module must still be present – and native USB 3.1 support so that these no longer need to be provided via additional chips.
The Z390 Aorus Ultra in detail
The Z390 Aorus Ultra motherboard (ATX) provides a total of three PCIe x16 slots, one of which is connected to the chipset with a full 16 lanes, while the other two are connected with eight and four data lines respectively. The motherboard offers three PCIe x1 slots for additional plug-in and expansion cards.
The four DIMM slots support up to 64 GB DDR4 memory in dual-channel mode. Native the Z390 chipset supports clock rates up to 2,666 MHz, but via OC the Z390 Aorus Ultra also allows the operation of RAM kits up to 4,400 MHz. Six SATA 6G ports and two M.2 slots are available for hard drives and SSDs.
At the I/O panel, the Z390 Aorus Ultra has four USB 3.1 ports, one with type C and three with type A connectors. USB 3.1 or USB 3.1 Gen 2 reaches maximum speeds of 10 Gbps per port, and USB ports with this standard typically support the fast-charging feature of smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, the I/O panel features two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports as well as an HDMI port. Internally, the motherboard provides a total of seven ports for fans and pumps. In addition, the mainboard is equipped with WLAN according to 802.11ac and an orange LED lighting.
The Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Master is listed in our price comparison starting at a price of 275$, which is within the usual range for an upper class mainboard. If the onboard comfort, the ESS-Sabre-DAC and a few less connections are ok for you, the Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra, which is about 40$ cheaper, would also be an option. It is also compatible with the Ryzen 5 2600 or Ryzen 5 2600x.
We hope you could find the right motherboard for your use-case for the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 or AMD Ryzen 5 2600x Processor. If you have any questions fell free to reach out to us via our contact form. Don’t hesitate to ask us regarding other issues than processors and motherboards. We have great expertise in many areas in our team.